There is a point with any ‘hobby’ – I use the single quotes as I don’t believe my love of poultry to actually be a hobby, more of a calling – where you can take it too far.
Like those old ladies found living in a one-bed flat with 150 cats. Or those families who spill out of a Mazda Bongo van and seem so numerous you think they are like film extras – exiting stage left then running round and going through the back door only to emerge again (yes, I class how’s yer faither as a hobby).
Or – and I am very aware that I live in the Borders and what I say next may be akin to blasphemy – the horsey person who lives in her Muck Boots, joddies and Joules sweatshirt and floats round Sainsbury’s in a cloud of horsey whiff with hay in the back of her hair. Too far.
The chooks just keep on increasing, which is OK, as there are always more to buy/be given/raise, and equally the odd one falling off the perch.
But then, this just isn’t enough for you, so you branch out. I chose turkeys, and they have been a good choice. I love them. They are just fan-dabi-dozi (apologies for any images of wee Jimmy Krankie giving a thumbs-up that may have just popped up in your head).
Buoyed with chicken/turkey success, I made that fatal hobby mistake. I took it too far. I bought some quail.
Thinking (misguidedly) that folk loved buying the chicken eggs (those precious farm gate sales), therefore they would be falling over themselves to buy quail eggs, I schlepped over the Border to Englandshire to buy plump young quail.
They are amazing wee birds. The lady quail are cute, but intelligent-looking wee things, and the males are full of puffed-up personality. And, of course, the lay-dees lay gorgeously patterned eggs, each one different from the last (how do they remember what patterns they have already laid?). And the males’ burbling call sounds like something you might hear in the jungle.
Gamford (very carefully) collected the teeny-weeny eggs and I sent away for some teeny-weeny egg boxes for them. We popped them on to the sales table and waited for the rich folk to swoop down and carry them off to their stately piles where, no doubt, they would have their cooks use them to whip up delicacies for their supper (only posh folk have supper, ye ken).
It didn’t happen.
End of day. Chook eggs gone, quail eggs still there.
We soldiered on, but still sales were slow. When I say slow, I mean the catatonic side of slow. The eggs mounted up. In piles. What to do with them?
My pal (the one who rescued the chook from the pie factory. Remember her?) who we will call Martha Stewart (because she is fantastic at baking and always wraps presents with pretty ribbons – you get the picture – and like me, you will be in awe of her), she actually made some of them into mini-Scotch eggs. Yes, really.
When you put a friend through the torture of boiling, peeling and then wrapping teeny-weeny eggs in sausage meat, you finally realise that you have taken a hobby too far. Waaaaay too far.